Principles of government in the USA

The US Constitution details how government must operate. The Founding Fathers wanted power to be shared, so the Constitution states that there will be a 'separation of powers'.

Federal government

The federal government is responsible for dealing with issues which affect all US states, for example:

  • armed forces
  • foreign policy
  • currency
  • civil rights

State government

State governments have a great amount of power and legislate in areas including:

  • education
  • use of the death penalty
  • consent age for marriage

Checks and balances

The Framers of the Constitution included a series of 'checks and balances' to further ensure that power was not concentrated in the hands of one group. One example is that the Constitution cannot be changed unless:

  • three-quarters of the states agree
  • two-thirds of the representatives in Washington, D.C. agree
  • the president agrees